The Progressive Understanding of the Tree of Life

John M. Archibald who is from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research wrote a commentary in PNAS about the hypothesis of the Tree of Life. His comments about understanding the evolutionary tree, caught me by surprise…

He states…

“The origin of complex cells is one of the most fundamental, and intractable, problems in evolutionary biology. Progress in this area relies heavily on an understanding of the relationships between present-day organisms, yet despite tremendous advances over the last half-century scientists remain firmly divided on how to best classify cellular life.”

In this honest admission, even at the fundamental level, the very basic level, proponents of evolution still do not understand it after all these years. This is because the evidence is not matching up with the hypothesis. Some play it down, while other boast how evolution is so solid that some explanation will be created in the future, but in reality both are disappointed with the genome results.

The 1990s was suppose to be a break through decade. Genomes from diverse organisms would be collected, sequenced and compared. Through this research up until now, this data was suppose to reveal answers to a lot of questions concerning the so-called tree of life.

John M. Archibald points out this wasn’t the case…

“Unfortunately, with the sequences of hundreds of eubacterial, archaebacterial, and eukaryotic genomes has come the realization that the number of universally distributed genes suitable for global phylogenetic analysis is frustratingly small.

Lateral (or horizontal) gene transfer has shown itself to be a pervasive force in the evolution of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes, and even if a “core” set of genes can be identified (and there is much debate on this issue), how confident are we that the phylogenetic signal in these genes reflects the vertical history of cells?”

While not all is lost for the faith in evolution for those who believe in it, this does indeed show a major weakness in evolution, something that militants don’t want students to learn. Many of these same militants like to give the false sense of solid evidence for evolution however, there is something wrong when we see advancements in the genome but the  understanding of basic life on the evolutionary tree of life remains nil.

Since this is a heavily divided issue within the scientific community, one asks, which proposal explains the data? Certainly not all of them would be considered as the closest thing to fact. I believe the progression of the tree of life in evolution hasn’t really progressed at all. In fact, the advancements in science has only brought more frustration not viable answers. So if anything did progress it was the gaps!

Certainly as Christians, the designed work which we see in nature is from God, though we have much to learn from it’s highly advanced specialized complexity, and admire it’s various forms of designs, there are no gaps involved!


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